Salvador Muñoz Viñas: Pride and Prejudice and Patina

Praska Lecture

Salvador Muñoz Viñas: Pride and Prejudice and Patina Praska Lecture | Events Calendar
Unknown. Saint Francisco of Borja Renouncing His Cardinalate, ca 1850s, Oil on canvas. Palau Ducal de Gandía, Spain. Image courtesy of Vicent Guerola-Blay.

Upper E Side

Institute of Fine Arts at NYU | 1 East 78th Street

Salvador Muñoz Viñas
Professor and Head of Paper Conservation
Universitat Politècnica de València

Pride and Prejudice and Patina

Monday, February 9, 2015, 6:00 PM
The Institute of Fine Arts
1 East 78th Street
New York City
Seating is limited - RSVP required

Seating in the Lecture Hall is on a first-come, first-served basis with RSVP. There will be a simulcast in an adjacent room to accommodate overflow.

About the Lecture:
The decision to clean a painting may seem relatively straightforward upon first glance. However, when the decision-making process is carefully analyzed, different, unexpected variables are bound to arise. One of the main problems in this regard is that it may be difficult to precisely ascertain what "clean" means when speaking of paintings. The kaleidoscopic notion of patina is perhaps a consequence of this basic indetermination, and thus reflects the varied attitudes towards what we call the "cleaning" of artworks. Yet, however different, these attitudes share a basic trait: they are all based on a standard classical conservation narrative. Borrowing from Caple's "RIP model," this classical narrative can be summarized by describing the main goals of conservation as the "revelation," "investigation" and/or "preservation" of truth. This widespread narrative, however, is not devoid of problems. As any reader of Sherlock Holmes (or any CSI fan) knows, dirt may be very important when it comes to determining truth. Cleaning, i.e., the removal of dirt, may thus askew the truth, and mislead the observer in some way. The classical conservation narrative is at odds with this potential incongruence; and, in turn, it suggests there may be certain reasons for cleaning that vary from those which are commonly accepted in the heritage world.

About Salvador Muñoz Viñas:
Dr. Salvador Muñoz Viñas is a Professor at the Universitat Politècnica de València and the head of Paper Conservation at the University's Conservation Institute. He is also a Fellow of the International Institute for Conservation. His teaching and research work revolves around both the theory of conservation and the technical aspects of paper conservation. He has published several books on these topics, including Contemporary Theory of Conservation (Oxford, 2005), which has been translated into several languages, such as Chinese, Persian or Italian, and has been said to "bring conservation into the 21st century" (C. Hucklesby, An Anthropology of Conservation).